This is my article as published in the August 8, 2013 issue of The Mena Star
Steamboats changed the face of America. Before steamboats, freight had to be either hauled by wagon or on rafts, flatboats, and keel-boats. River transport was difficult, hazardous, and costly.
In 1811 the first river steamboats left the dock at Pittsburgh to steam down the Ohio River to the Mississippi and on to New Orleans. With the use of steamboats, the freight rates per hundred pounds from New Orleans to Louisville dropped from 5 dollars to 25 cents, between 1815 and 1860. Steamboat traffic including passenger and freight business grew tremendously during this period . So too did the economic and human losses inflicted by snags, shoals, boiler explosions, and human error. From 1811 to 1899, 156 steamboats were lost to snags or rocks between St. Louis and the Ohio River and another 411 were damaged by fire, explosions or ice. Travelling by steamboat was dangerous.
Back in the days when steamboats were common, a passenger stood watching the pilot guiding the ship through the river. The passenger asked the pilot, "how long have you been piloting a boat on this river?" "About twenty years," was the reply. The passenger said, "so I suppose you know every rock and shoal and sand bank and all the other dangerous places." "No, I don't," said the pilot. "You don't!" exclaimed the passenger in alarm. "Then what do you know?" The pilot said, "I know where the deep water is."
Many Christians waste a lot of precious time and resources studying error. They think that to avoid error they must understand all of the inns and outs of it. Instead of focusing on Jesus they focus on these erroneous ideas and the people who are teaching them. They become conspiracy theory Christians who spend more time focusing on these conspiracy theories than they do on Jesus.
In Philippians 4:8, the Bible tells us, "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." That seems to tell me that God wants us to focus on the positive. There is so much evil and error in the world that we could never hope to understand it no matter how long we studied it. Why would we want to take time away from Jesus to study such things?
I am quite often given materials or sent e-mails and internet links to articles that are meant to expose certain groups or organizations. I don't want to take the time to study things that I already believe to be error. If we know our Bibles and we know our Savior we will not be deceived. We don't need to see the evil side of life to be able to seek the good. Jesus tells us in John 8:31,32 - "If you continue to obey my teaching, you are truly my followers. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
We need to know where the deep water is. We need to travel in the deep water as we negotiate the river of life. To many lives have been wrecked by the rocks and sand banks of life as they have strayed from the deep water. Let's resolve to stay in the deep water of Jesus.
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I was born in 1956 in Madison, Tennessee, while my parents were attending Madison College. I grew up along the Front Range in Colorado, attending schools in Longmont, Brighton, Boulder and Loveland, Colorado. Two years after graduating from Campion Academy, I married my sweetheart, Regina. We lived in Loveland, Colorado for six years before moving to Mena in western Arkansas.
I love the people of Mena and the friendly easy going way of life here. I have owned and operated my own business since moving to Mena. I enjoy the natural beauty of western Arkansas and being out of doors.
My newspaper column in The Mena Star, An Arkie’s Faith, premiered on January 7, 2016. In March 2017, I published my first book, titled An Arkie's Faith, using articles from the column.